Abrupt Climate Change Deemed More Likely Than Ever
A major new report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey, cryptically entitled Synthesis and Assessment Report 3.5: Abrupt Climate Change, finds that future climatic shifts have been underestimated [ark], and warns of relatively low probability but debilitating “abrupt” shift in climate [search] that would be devastating. The new report builds upon earlier IPCC findings, and notes that better information means predictions continue to improve. For the United States they predict an arid and desolate Southwest as a result of drought, and a four foot rise globally in sea levels by 2100 (IPCC predictions are 1.5). The authors downplay the risk of large methane releases, but note its continued possibility.
In my twenty years as a climate advocate, the observable evidence and scientific revisions have consistently been to increase upward predictions regarding the speed and severity of climate change (to say nothing of oceans, toxics, soils, forests, water, etc.). These are not wild-eyed radicals, they are America's best scientists, and what they have to say should give pause to us all. The risk of abrupt and cataclysmic climate change that “would be life-changing” appears increasingly likely and thankfully is being given greater scientific attention and credibility. The question now is does existing political authority have the will and skill to completely restructure economic and social systems to not destroy the atmosphere? If not, it is up to us to bailout the Earth.